17-year-old Harmony Wolcott is slowly succumbing to the darkness that haunts her, hurts her, and pushes her past the limits of sanity. The ghost, known only as Tom, seems bent on her destruction and the one person that knows his secret, her paranoid schizophrenic mother, is too busy tending her own demons to notice Harmony’s distress.
Afraid to ask for help or admit the strange occurrences, Harmony gives herself over to self-destruction of every kind: drugs, promiscuity, and a co-dependent relationship with an older man who doesn’t have any idea what it is he’s saving her from, but tries anyway. Time is running out for Harmony and she either has to figure out who Tom is and what he wants or, if she can’t face her tragic past, join him in death.
Soul for Sale: Promoting Independently Published Novels
I used to believe that writing a good book was the big hurdle. I wrote, revised, wrote, revised, solicited opinion, hired an editor, wrote and revised some more. In the end, I was very happy with the way my novel, Dead Spell, turned out, but I wasn’t sure where its home was. It wasn’t until I started investigating my options that I realized yes, you have to have a good novel, but the real hurdle was, deciding how to publish it.
J.A. Konrath very convincingly touts the self-publishing world, but my dreams were always of being traditionally published. Back when I first started writing (the 90’s when I was a teenager) that was the only legitimate way to go. That dream quickly changed when I weighed the pros and cons: http://belindaf.blogspot.com/2011/03/pros-and-cons-of-indie-publishing.html.
I decided that going independent was what was best for this particular novel and I went on from there, hiring a cover designer and learning the formatting for digital publishing. I took it one step further and made my book available in print through Create Space. Hurdle jumped, or was it?
No. Guess what? Another hurdle. I had a book to sell, like an ever-growing sea of writers had books to sell, and I had to compete in the market. I had to get those sales. That was the final hurdle in what had already been a long, tedious journey of learning. How do you do it?
1. Write a good novel. All the promoting in the world won’t save you from a poorly written novel. Take your time, hone your craft, and don’t cut corners. Especially in the indie world, prying eyes are out there to say you put out a sub-par product–something that can’t compete with books that have been traditionally published. Self publishing is slowly losing its stigma thanks to the hard work of dedicated independent writers.
2. Build a network. You have to have a network of potential readers or you’ll have no one to read your novel. There are the obvious sites: Facebook and Twitter, but there are many others like Goodreads, Library Thing, and the blogosphere that’ll need your attention, too. Make friends, network, and find people interested in your genre. It’s fun and those same people are the people you’ll come to rely on for cross-marketing and general support when the writing chips are down. Twitter is one of my personal faves and I hear a lot of people saying that they just don’t understand how it works. There are plenty of how-thttp://belindaf.blogspot.com/2011/03/pros-and-cons-of-indie-publishing.htmlos on the web and it’s well worth learning.
3. Cover design counts. Whether or not you can judge a book by its cover, people do. Don’t neglect this detail. If you’re not graphic design savvy, plenty of freelancers do covers for reasonable prices.
4. Blog, guest blog, and blog tour. Your blog introduces you to readers and writers and your way of thinking. It’s your most solid platform. Home base. Guest blogging and blog tours increase your exposure. Each time you guest blog, you’re reaching an entirely different audience and your reader base grows.
5. Freeconomics. Giveaways are a great way to get those initial reviews flowing and believe me, people buy based on reviews. I do. A good review is a lasting, personal recommendation from your reader to your potential audience. If you have print copies of your novel, you can do a Goodreads giveaway. Library Thing will let you giveaway e-copies.
6. And finally, be a good person. Really? This is a sales tactic? Yes, believe it or not, it is. No matter where you are in your writing career, someone is behind you. They haven’t learned those precious writing, editing, and promoting gems yet and they want this glorious, too-tired to move writer existence as much as you do. We can all learn from each other and I’m a community-minded writer by nature. If I can help someone along the way, I will. It’s paying it forward for all the people that have taken the time to help me. Turn the other cheek at bad reviews, give good reviews when they’re warranted, and take a few minutes out of your day to promote someone else. Chances are, they’ll reciprocate and you’ll have made a great new friend.
From one writer to another, I wish you all the best of luck!